As we are all aware of the implications on climate change for our planet we all must do our bit to reduce Co2 emissions as much as possible. In the UK alone 30% of all energy used is through us, the householders, which is a significant amount of Co2 produced as a result. At LiSC we feel sustainable living both in the home and workplace are challenging areas of research with much room for innovation.
Watts-up is an innovative Facebook application which displays live autonomously logged energy data from the Wattson energy monitor, allowing users to socially compare domestic energy consumption on Facebook with friends. The application was developed through discussions and sketches from a workshop with participating Facebook users. User generated designs were created during the workshop and were used to develop final interface designs implemented using the Facebook API.
Wattson energy monitors and the Wattsup app were deployed and trialled in eight homes over an eighteen day period in two conditions. In the first condition participants could only access their personal energy data, whilst in the second they could access each others’ data to make comparisons. A significant reduction in energy was observed in the socially enabled condition. Comments on discussion boards and semi-structured interviews with the participants indicated that the element of competition helped motivate energy savings. The study provides supporting evidence that socially-mediated banter and competition made for an enjoyable user experience whilst at the same time reducing home energy consumption.